Monday, March 31, 2008

We're ghetto now, at least temporarily

In preparation for a new washer and dryer (the dryer finally gave out yesterday) Corrie moved the old ones out into the yard. Which is more ghetto, the photo that includes the dorm fridge (which works and is great for outdoor parties!) or the one with the old truck with a flat tire? I guess we won't be winning yard of the month anytime soon. I know Corrie will get them off to the metal recycling place very soon.

To offset the ghetto, here are some new crocus I found blooming in the yard. I should really know what kind they are, but I don't.

Saturday, March 29, 2008


Almost everyone in the house is napping this afternoon, even I took a short nap, and Corrie is also still napping, but I doubt he wants his photo on my blog. Scabbers and Norman:


Even the strays, Itty Bittiest and Oreo, are sleeping in Corrie's old truck that's still full of yard waste for a trip to the dump. Yard waste makes for nice cat beds, I guess.

In other news, Corrie is making good progress on installing the tile on the bathroom walls. We're still not sure what to do for floor tile. Almost everything we see is too similar to what we used on the walls. I'm ok with a lighter color that we found the other night, but Corrie said he doesn't like it. All I really care about is no light-colored grout. It's impossible to keep that stuff clean unless you use chemicals that will burn your hands off.

In seedling news, the only thing coming up so far are my red marigolds. I'm hoping everything else will soon follow. Here's the full seed starter contraption that Corrie built a few years ago on a snow day. I have the ability to move the fluorescent bulbs up as the plants get taller, and I can also move more plants up to the higher shelf and install my other lights. There's an ominous glow in this photo.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Weebles Wobble, but they don't fall down!

I don't want to share my bedroom secrets, but it all started late last night when our chunky kitty, Scabbers, wouldn't reposition himself on the bed so there was room for me. Out of nowhere and pretty much from a dead sleep, I said to Corrie, "he's like a weeble wobble!" I probably haven't thought about weeble wobbles in a few years-probably most people haven't thought about them in 20 years, but from time to time especially when I go through an e-bay phase, I like to think about all of my favorite childhood toys. On my top 10 favorite toys of all time list would be: legos (in the #1 spot), then in no particular order: Lincoln Logs, my spirograph, our Fisher Price Sesame Street playhouse, my sister's Hotwheels collection, our toy oven that we played restaurant with, bristle blocks, tinkertoys, that train that played records, and our weeble wobble circus tent. I couldn't find the whole set on the ebay, but I did find this photo as part of Aaron's Wobbleland:

I remember trying to catapult the weebles out of the cannon and onto the swings, but that didn't always work. Oh, and ours also had a trampoline, but I don't see that here. I'm going to have to keep my eye out for the set. I guess this might be why some people have kids-so they can buy this stuff without feelings of guilt.

Don't judge me for thinking about weebles today-I had a bad day of web snafus and expensive vet bills. Everything seems to have worked out in the end.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Mission Accomplished!

After I pulled into the driveway today, I wondered what piece of purple litter had gotten stuck in the flower bed next to the house. What a surprise-it was the crocus I had been searching for!

I guess I should mark this spot for next spring so I don't have to search so much.

In other news, Corrie is gearing up to work on our ongoing upstairs bathroom remodel. When I say ongoing, I mean ongoing. I went back to find some photos of when we tore out the old bathroom, and I was a little shocked to see they dated back to 2004. I'm probably the one who made this mess (back in 2004, dang, I was still in my 20s then-Courtney, you still lived here!):

Here, also in February 2004, our new tub installed. Corrie can correct me if I'm wrong, but I utilized the tub just as it appears here before we had any drywall up. I used to stare up at the 100 year old cobwebs stuck on the ceiling joists.

Slow-forward to 2008: Corrie has almost finished with tile in the shower, and he just bought more title to finish what's going on the bathroom walls. We're going to have to pick another color of tile for the floor, since it was so long ago that we decided on something that we forgot what we decided on!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter, everyone!

Evidently I was very excited to be receiving a toothbrush for Easter in 1980. Hopefully I got some chocolate to go along with that toothbrush.

The tulip report is a little boring today-things look about the same as last week. If you look closely through the fence, you can see Junior, the neighbor's dog. Hello Junior!

I started my garden seeds yesterday. I still need to rig up the my fluorescent lights, but the seeds are in the seed starter mix and are ready to go. One of the ways I get through the beginning of winter is I tell myself once January comes, I can go ahead and order some seeds from Pinetree Garden seeds. They arrived so long ago that I had forgotten what I ordered. I ended up with 5 different varieties of tomato seeds. I wanted to try a couple of new kinds this year (regular brandywines and black brandywines) as well as keep up my standards (better boy, early girl, and jellly bean grape) in case the news ones don't work out. Plus I like to have plenty of plants to share with friends. Besides the tomato seeds, I started some cosmos, marigolds, salvia (not the kind you smoke, I don't think), purple coneflowers, calendula, and black-eyed susan vines. It doesn't look too overwhelming right now, but the space the seedlings take up with expand exponentially over the coming months. These little rows will be transferred into small containers, then each plant will eventually get its own container, and by the time mid-May comes, I will be up to my ears in plants.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Don't save all your gardening for the weekend

I hope no one's weekend was ruined because I didn't post anything about the weekly tulip watch. Here's Saturday's photo. Luckily, they're coming along well enough that it's getting more difficult for me to remember which ones I was monitoring.

It's great-now I'm seeing tulips popping up all over the yard. I wouldn't want to guess how many tulips I've planted in the past 9 years-there were several years where I had a ritual of buying 2 dozen tulip bulbs the day before the Buffalo Run in September. I think I did that for 4 or 5 years, so that's easily 100 tulips right there. The ones I've been following in the photos were the very first tulips I bought in a bargain bag at Menards in the fall of 2000. I doubt I paid more than $10 for 50 bulbs, and they've been dug up and moved at least once. Their current and final location is along the fence in the vegetable garden, where they get a lot of sun all winter long. It's probably why they're always the first to arrive in the spring. I can't say all of the more expensive tulips I've bought have fared as well.

I just finished reading a nice little book I received for my birthday, The Curious Gardener's Almanac: Centuries of Practical Garden Wisdom by Niall Edworthy. It's a hodgepodge of gardening tips, recipes, old sayings, fun facts, and neat little design elements. (check out the gardener's cabbage head on the front cover.)

One of the tips that should've been obvious but I really liked anyway was don't save all of your gardening for the weekend. On Monday, it might sound like a good plan to spend the entire following Saturday outside in the yard, but what if you had a really good Friday night inside with some tasty adult beverages and pulling weeds out in 100 degree heat all of a sudden doesn't sound so fun? I don't plan to spend entire weeknight evenings gardening, but I would like to do a few odds and ends here and there. Tonight I was really tired but told myself I'd go out and rake just one bag of leaves and then come back in. Once I got out there, I wasn't so tired, and the one bag turned into two. (plus I saw man with stuffed tiger car drive by.) Here's another fun fact from the book: "Each garden contains an average of one hundred species of spiders and each house contains about ten species." (That's a lot of spider walks, Jana!) I think I'll revisit this book throughout the summer, especially once I have some produce for the recipes.
Hopefully by this weekend if Corrie gets the upstairs re-situated, I'll have some flower and vegetable seeds started under my grow lights. Now the fun begins!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

This is what I don't do

If anyone ever wonders how I stay involved in so many hobbies, it's because I don't do this: clean. I was actually startled by the size of this cat hair dust bunny that just rolled through the dining room.

I should say this is only where it is because I opened the window and it blew out from under the table legs. If I encountered this under normal circumstances, I would take the time to dispose of it. I can promise this will probably be my only posting about cleaning, or lack thereof.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Yay! I'm in Kentucky!

Actually, I'm in Lincoln, but my running and cycling miles for today put me in Kentucky for my virtual transcontinental trip. This virtual trip is part of national health research being done by Dr. Paul T. Williams at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. I started tracking my mileage last August, and it took me this long to log 555 miles, which is the distance they have you travel in Virginia! I never thought I'd make it out of that state. You can log your miles for running, walking, or cycling. I was skeptical that I'd keep this up, but somehow I did. (maybe because I didn't have a lot of miles to log during winter!)

As you log your progress, they display your location both with photographs of your current whereabouts as well as where you are on a map. Here's the scenery a few miles back while still in Virginia.

And a map of me now just over the Kentucky border:

You can add partners on your trip and track your progress together, or set up various e-mail notifications for when you don't enter data for a week, you don't meet your weekly goal, or a partner passes you. I haven't messed around with any of that-I just want to get across these states! It would be nice to think I could make it through Kentucky before the summer is over.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Eagle Three-peat

The final game is in the books-Central won their third straight Class A basketball championship last night. It was a tight game against Bellevue East with some questionable calls thrown in for added tension, but the final score was 59-58. I tried taking a few videos with my camera during the game, but they didn't turn out very good. Here's a clip I took just as Creighton recruit Josh Jones made a slam dunk. (the basket is made in the first second of video. Watch carefully or you'll miss it.)

I realize it may not make a lot of sense to still be so intense about Central High sports fifteen years after I graduated, but I think high school sports offer more of what I love about college sports. (and what makes me ambivalent about most professional sports) It's about school and team pride and playing for your teammates and classmates. It's not about salaries, bonuses, and endorsements. It could also be that we didn't have a ton of athletic success when I was in school, except for a soccer championship in 1992-I happened to attend I-Back High right between when Calvin Jones graduated and Ahman Green transferred to Central. There were no trips to Lincoln for State playoffs while I was there.

After the basketball excitement, I caught up with Corrie and a couple of other guys out on the O Street bar scene. I won't discuss some of the odd things that occurred in a short span of time, but we did find Hopkin green frog at Iguana's.

I didn't mis-type that-I was indeed in Iguana's. I'm 33 years old and I did some kind of shot named frog sperm. I admit I had a good time, even though this didn't fit in with my preferred bar scene, which is either hanging out for the duration of the evening at Duffy's or sipping cocktails at the Starlite Lounge. I'm getting too old and too lazy for the bar hopping the kids do these days.

The Blanket is done, now the baby can come

Amy and Jeff's baby blanket (not for Jeff but for the baby, sorry Jeff! I can put you on my to do list if you'd like a full-size blanket) arrived safely in Colorado last week, so now I can talk about it without ruining the surprise.

It was a really fun pattern to do, but it turned out bigger than I expected. I think I had to make two extra trips to the yarn stores to buy additional skeins. I really wish they made yarn that repelled cat hair because I spent a good amount of time and a good amount of my lint brush removing the stuff, even though I was very careful while crocheting to keep the cats away and only expose as little yarn as possible between the bag it was in and the piece itself. (and yes, Scabbers, the cat of cat sweater fame, is in the upper part of this photo, but he was not allowed on the blanket.)

My new project is a knitted pillow to match Corrie's striped blanket. I'm only using one of the colors from the blanket (thank you, Jana, for the yarn freebies) and the pattern incorporates a striped motif. It's hard to tell it's a pillow from this photo, but it will make sense later on. I have a long ways to go-the main part of the pillow pattern is supposed to be at least 32" (you fold it in half to make the pillow shape) and I think I've only knitted about 10" of that right now.

In other news, the tulip report this week is not good, as anyone who lives here could guess. I'm sure they'll be fine-they got an extra layer of insulation, thanks to Thursday night/Friday morning's snow. I realize now looking at this photo that I didn't get the same tulips we were monitoring before, but it was too cold out to go back and find the right ones. I didn't even bother looking for the crocus.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Lost Sweatshirt

In light of this week's high school boys basketball tournament and with the possibility that my alma mater, Omaha Central High, could be competing for their third straight championship and continue to simultaneously hold titles in football, basketball and track (yes, I'm annoyingly still proud of my high school. If you went there, you'd understand) I decided I'd try to once again find my comfy grey school sweatshirt that wouldn't be too obnoxious to wear to the games. (It's very simple, only lettering, no graduation years mentioned. Timeless fashion.) I realize now that I have many totes of old clothes stored in our basement, however, I didn't quickly find that sweatshirt. Of course, I found a few other things that had to be drug out of the basement, inspected by the cats and me, and photographed.

1. my Husker scrapbook from the 1987-88 season. There are no fancy football stickers purchased from Hobby Lobby's scrapbooking section, just roughly-cut stories and photos from the Sunday edition of the Omaha World Herald.

2. my 1990 Earth Day t-shirt. I was in the middle of an environmentally-conscious phase back then. I was a vegetarian for a whole week once. I even found a kindred spirit with the same shirt at that summer's music camp. The shirt is a *little* faded now.

3. my 1992 U2 Zoo Tv Tour t-shirt. Seems like just yesterday we were on the eve of electing Clinton to the White House. I had missed their show in Ames, IA that fall because of marching band duties at the high school football game, but I somehow begged and pleaded my way into getting to see them in Kansas City a month later. It was great-I think it was my first experience being around really drunk people, which was not so great. The shirt got a lot of wear-it too is faded and oddly shaped now.

4. my college band jacket. In one pocket, there were a couple of peppermints, still in tact in their wrappers, the combination to a residence hall mailbox, and an empty clarinet reed case. In the other pocket, and I don't know why this was there, was one of Corrie's socks. No clue. I tried to collect pins for the front from all the places the band took me, but along the way I believe I lost my Kansas Jayhawk pin and maybe a Cyclone pin. The collars on these jackets were dreadful-Corrie has a jacket from the year before with a normal collar.

5. Finally, there's a happy ending. I did find my senior class t-shirt! "U Can't Hold Us"-were we rebels or something? Had someone threatened to hold the whole class back? Unfortunately, I think it's too silly to wear to the game.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Does anyone recognize this kitty?

This cat has been showing up for the B&B option on our back porch the past couple of weeks. He's dark grey and white and appears to be neutered. He's very friendly. I don't see any lost cat reports on Lincoln's Department of Animal Control website that match him, so I thought I'd at least give him the benefit of a blog post.

Besides, I think I've had this blog going for over a week, and I don't think I've written about cats yet!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Holmes Lake isn't the only thing in town that's still frozen

The forecast for today said temperatures in the 60s ( says it's 68 right now), so I knew I wanted to get my freshly-tuned bike out and go for a ride. When venturing out on the first really nice day of the year, one must consider the probable high traffic on the most popular trails and chose their own path accordingly. People seem to forget over the winter how to use our bike trails and what the phrase, "on your left" means, so I decided to head farther north than I usually go so I could get on the John Dietrich bikeway that eventually turns into the Murdock trail, which eventually would get me to Lincoln's Mahoney Park. (not to be confused with the Mahoney Park out by the Platte River. I'm not in that good of shape.) I knew before going out that portions of this trail are limestone, and I realized they'd probably be a little messy and get my freshly-cleaned bike messy, too. The fact that there's hardly anyone ever on this stretch was just too appealing to pass up.

I was right-there was hardly anyone out, however I underestimated the limestone messiness. Patches right next to Mahoney Park were still complete snow-covered, so I walked my bike maybe a quarter of a mile until I got on firmer ground. I decided I wasn't willing to do that again going back, so I ended up taking the longer way home by going on hilly 84th street south all the way to the Mo Pac trail, which is one of the busy ones I was trying to avoid. It might've been the heavy winds, but there actually weren't that many people out on the Mo Pac, so I had minimally frustrating trip the rest of the way home. All in all, a pretty good trip!

This week's tulip progress-I still can't find my crocus, but the tulips continue to grow: